Natural and Scenic Area grants

Note: There is no funding currently available for natural and scenic area grants. However, the program remains in place in the event that there is funding available in the future.

Program purpose:

To increase, protect and enhance natural and scenic areas. This program is established in Minnesota Statutes 85.019. For more information, see the Natural and Scenic Area Program.

How it works:

Provides matching grants to local units of government for up to 50% of the cost of acquisition of natural and scenic areas.

Eligible applicants:

Cities, counties, townships and school districts.

Eligible projects:

Eligible projects include fee title acquisition and permanent easement acquisition. Minimal betterment activities are eligible as part of the proposed acquisition project and include interpretive, educational or boundary signing and protective fencing. For more information, read the use guidelines in the Program Manual. pdf

Minimum requirements:

Project proposals must have a total project cost of at least $10,000. The applicant must be the intended owner and manager of the property to be acquired.

Level of assistance:

A maximum of 50% of the total eligible project costs not to exceed a maximum grant of $500,000. Costs must be incurred and paid for before reimbursement can be made. Applicants are eligible to receive more than one grant. Significant progress must be completed on active projects before an additional proposal can be submitted.

The program finances projects using state dollars authorized by the Minnesota State Legislature. Typically, the state dollars available are Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund dollars recommended by the Legislative Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).

  • FY 2013 funding appropriated: $500,000.

Funding Priorities:

The project review priorities will assess the natural resource qualities of the site such as endangered, threatened, rare or special concern species or communities, high quality native terrestrial or aquatic ecosystems, ecological viability, outstanding geological or physiographic features, protection of water quality and potential vulnerability to exotic species.

Scenic qualities such as blufflands or other elevated terrain that afford an opportunity for viewing scenic vistas, viewing unique natural features, viewing unique historical or cultural features, and shoreland properties that offer scenic vistas across lakes or streams will be assessed. Other review components include adjacent lands, educational and scientific values, open space and historical/cultural values and local government commitment.

Grant awards:

The Department of Natural Resources will review and rank applications during the spring of 2012. Preliminary grant awards will be announced in the summer of 2012.

Project period:

Projects cannot begin until all requested final documentation has been submitted and an agreement between the applicant and the state has been signed. Project start dates may be in the fall of 2012 or later, depending on the funding available and the project ranking. Funded projects must begin promptly after an agreement has been signed. All work must be completed no later than December 31, 2013.

To apply:

Applications are not currently being accepted for this program.

Further information:

Grants Manager
Local Grants Program
Department of Natural Resources
500 Lafayette Road, Box 52
St. Paul, MN 55155
Fax: (651) 296-5475

Related DNR Programs:

Other Related Programs:

None